I have this image in my head of a sign hanging above Larry Bird's office door that reads: "To Shoot
Or Not To Shoot." And before and after every front-office meeting, staff members must tap the sign as part of their offseason pledge: To Shoot.
Well, shooting is officially coming to Indy with the free-agent acquisitions of C.J. Miles, Damjan Rudez, and, to a lesser degree, Shayne Whittington.
All appear to be reasonable signings after the Pacers offensively-challenged second half of the season. And any NBA novice would be crazy not to have shooting on the mind after watching the Spurs use the three-point shot to devour and bedazzle the Heat in the NBA Finals.
Following in the footsteps of the NBA's darling franchise is a good move, but the execution of such a plan is where things can get muddled. Here are two pressing questions today's signings bring about:
1. Which player(s) on the roster is gonna get these guys the ball?
I'm not saying Lance is gone, but it kinda feels like Lance is gone. And if he truly goes, he takes the only player on the roster with a speck of court vision with him. George Hill's too busy "safe passing" to compensate, and Paul George is too busy trying to make every pass look like an NBA Jam highlight. What's the point of bringing in a bunch of sharpshooters if those guys can't get the ball? Which brings me to my next point...
2. If it isn't gonna be a player to get them the ball who else can it be?
In the modern NBA, it seems there are two ways to take advantage of spacing and shooting: (1) have a master tactician who can draw it up (Pop, Stan Van Gundy, etc.), or (2) have a player who knows when and where to hit every teammate (LeBron James, etc.) As mentioned, Indy's wannabe LeBron may be skipping town, which means the Pacers, now more than ever, may need to rely on Coach Vogel's Xs and Os to put these guys in the right spots to succeed. Yikes.
So, while adding shooters is all well and good, now comes the challenging part of figuring out how to take advantage of their skillset. Hopefully, Coach Vogel's been putting in work to strategize how to put some Pop in the offense. And let's hope his work ethic is more of the Lance variety, then say, Danny Granger (you said it, Larry, not me).